Deputies to monitor courthouse checkpoints after security breaches

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Sheriff David Clarke has ordered sheriff's deputies to be posted at each security checkpoint throughout the courthouse following recent security breaches.

According to a press release from the Sheriff's Office, a recent shooting in a courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware last month prompted Sheriff Clarke to order an integrity check of the Milwaukee County Courthouse complex security checkpoints.

During the integrity check an undercover deputy, who carried no credentials or other law enforcement identifiers, was able to get through the secure checkpoint at all six entrances into the complex with a gun tucked in her waistband.

In each instance, the security officers used a handheld wand to locate the metal, but merely allowed her to reveal her belt buckle as the source, and then let her through without any further check. This occurred at each of the six security screening stations.

Officials say any time the alarm is activated, security personnel must perform a more thorough inspection to determine what set it off.

Clarke said that “complacency and a lack of a sense of urgency are factors, as well as inadequate supervision by Facilities Management.  The security check has become an exercise in going through the motions.  That is not what I expect.  Employees, jurors and the public are counting on Facilities Management to do a more thorough job to ensure that these buildings remain secure from this type of breach.”

Sheriff's deputies will be posted at each security checkpoint in the courthouse complex until Sheriff Clarke is convinced that weapons cannot get into the complex. Sheriff Clarke will request supplemental funding to pay for this, since this function is not in the MCSO budget.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who is responsible for the courthouse's security says the way Sheriff Clarke is handling this is all wrong.

"You`re here today because the sheriff put out a press release. We've tried to speak with the sheriff on this topic just within the last few weeks and, you know, he can always pick up the phone and call," Abele said.

Abele says Sheriff Clarke went right to the media, and not to him with the safety concerns, and Abele says Sheriff Clarke's knee-jerk move to put deputies at every door without first talking about it is overkill.

"Again, we were trying to get a meeting with him on this subject. Would love to have that meeting," Abele said.

Sheriff Clarke's spokeswoman told FOX6 News Sheriff Clarke doesn't have time to do an interview Wednesday, but he does have this to say about communicating with other government officials while hosting a radio show on 1130 WISN.

"This is not about getting along. This is not about sitting down playing patty cake, playing nice in the sandbox and working together. I`m not here to do those things.  I`m here to get things done," Sheriff Clarke said.